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Great Things Happen When You Listen to Your Customers

Taking your customers' opinion into account can do more than just influence your product roadmap. It can also be a fantastic opportunity to strengthen relationships with key clients. Which is what Optimove's 4th Customer Advisory Board was all about

To be honest, last week’s CAB was more of a limousine. Judging by the upscale atmosphere, great food, sophisticated company, and number of participants, there was no way it could all have happened in a “cab”!

Yet, it did, when Optimove’s fourth annual Customer Advisory Board (CAB) meetup took place in Tel Aviv earlier this month. Ten CRM executives and decision-makers from companies of various sizes, verticals, and (mostly) faraway places spent the entire day inside a conference room with us, generously giving their feedback on Optimove. Here’s what they had to say.

“No Brainer”

It was totally worth it. “We are heavily involved with Optimove and see the product as a key driver to the success of our company. So having the opportunity to participate is a no brainer,” said Alan James Mansfield, Head of Casino Operations at Funstage. “I personally also saw this as a learning opportunity.”

“I felt the day was very productive,” said the Senior Manager of Customer Strategy & Monetization of a leading direct-to-consumer brand of men’s grooming products. “I was impressed by Optimove’s openness to hearing what features and UI improvements we marketers would like to see.”

“We have made a strategic investment in our relationship with Optimove as our CRM vendor,” stated the Director of CRM & Retention of a popular health app. “This was a valuable opportunity to have a front-row seat with key personnel from the product team at Optimove, and to influence how they prioritize future product developments.”

Timing is Everything Very Important

The CAB was months in the making. It started with building the initial list of potential members and securing the long-term commitment of many of our most prominent clients. This isn’t meant to be a one-off thing, and everyone involved knows that this is where a lot of the value lies.

“We see Optimove as a long-term partner. I want to invest my time in making it a solution that works not only for me but also for my colleagues who use it,” said the Customer Retention Manager of a huge undergarments vendor. “I wanted to learn more about Optimove’s roadmap for 2020 and beyond, and to provide feedback” was a repeating refrain during and after the get-together.

Speaking of 2020, timing – as always – was crucial. Last week, we held our fifth annual Relationship Marketing conference – PostFunnel Summit (formerly, Optimove Connect) – where many of our clients were among the hundreds of attendees. Furthermore, timing it around the middle of Q4 allows us to incorporate feedback into next year’s roadmap.

After finalizing guests, timing, and venue, we crafted the format. We knew the participants would be coming after two days at our conference, and we certainly didn’t want to bombard them with more one-sided presentations. Instead, we came up with a few interactive sessions that kept everyone engaged, and sometimes rather amused!

Interactivity is Key

“I really liked the interactive format,” commented the aforementioned Senior Manager. “Discussions were eye-opening,” added the Customer Retention Manager, specifically referring to two surprising parts of the day.

One of these was when each member received a large piece of blank paper and was asked to draw their dream Optimove dashboard, using a bunch of pre-made paper widgets (including different types of charts, tables, filter buttons, etc.), scissors, glue, and colorful sharpies. The idea was not necessarily to design a future dashboard, but rather to better understand which types of data and information our users most care about. 

Additionally, as part of the CAB preparations, we asked each member to send us two of their top feature requests in advance. This was the basis for the second interactive session: We assigned a price tag to each feature based on the feedback from R&D (considering the relative effort to build it), and then each participant received a pile of poker chips they could use to “buy” the features they wanted. The catch was that each individual budget wasn’t enough to buy any one feature. Clients had to negotiate among themselves and pool money together to be able to purchase features.

And this is where the magic happened. The participants started passionately convincing each other with use-cases and examples. We sat back and took notes on the “why” behind their various requests.

It turns out that many of the participants ended up not “buying” the features they had initially requested. Instead, they elected to join forces with other customers to acquire different features. 

Pushing the Envelope

This was also at the heart of most attendees’ main takeaways. The open, flowing, three-way conversations that marked the day were mostly dominated by clients sharing ideas, techniques, and challenges with their counterparts. “I was intrigued by the solutions that other Optimove clients are using to get the most out of the solution,” said Elisha Singh-Kramer, Lifecycle Manager at TalkSpace. “I also wanted to hear the issues that other companies were having and thought it was helpful to listen to some of the solutions, as well.”

Thanks to a lot of goodwill by all parties and some smart interactive activities, everyone came out of the session with a clear, useful, focused view of each other’s Relationship Marketing preferences, challenges, and approaches. And a glimpse as to what’s next.

“There are some clients even larger than us here, and the way Optimove solve their enterprise-scale challenges is really exciting,” concluded one of the retention experts in the room. “These large clients are pushing the envelope and driving Optimove to tackle challenges before the rest of us run into them.” And she’s right. It’s all part of how we stay ahead of the curb.

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